Unfortunately, this group often functions as a “rubber stamp” to what the school leaders want, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Parents who can band together and make it their business to understand the purpose of these funds can make a tremendous impact. The role of this council is to create an annual plan of school improvement, and to use the federal funds to that end. This School Improvement Plan or Comprehensive Educational Plan, or other names adopted by states, spells out what results the school leaders will be accountable for each year.
The development of the plan follows an annual schedule each year involving the analysis of school data, development of goals, development of an action plan to reach those goals, and the budgeting of funds to contribute to the goals. This document creates the foundation for all school initiatives, and for the development of the individual goals of the school leaders. The federal government created this process so that school leaders would become more accountable for school results to parents. However, school leaders tend to play it safe and only include goals that are not as aggressive as they should be.
Parents can use this process and its leverage to force change in their schools. They don’t have to just be a “rubber stamp.” They can insist on seeing real data and pushing school leaders to demand more and create change in their schools. So, if you don’t think your school is getting the job done, get involved. Find a group of like-minded parents and work together with them on your school’s council to make it happen.